Hunted by Emlyn Rees

Hunted by Emlyn Rees

Danny Shanklin wakes up slumped across a table in a London hotel room he’s never seen before. He’s wearing a black balaclava, a red tracksuit and a brand new pair of Nikes. There’s a faceless dead man on the floor and Danny’s got a high-powered rifle strapped to his hands. He hears sirens and stumbles to the window to see a burning limousine and bodies all over the street. The police are closing in. He’s been set up. They’re coming for him…

With only his tech support friend, the Kid, for backup, Danny sets out on a nail-biting odyssey though the panicked city streets, in a desperate bid to escape, protect the people he loves, and track down the terrorists who set him up – and make them pay. But with 500,000 CCTV cameras, 33,000 cops, 9 intelligence agencies, and dozens of TV news channels all hot on his tail, just how long will THIS one innocent man be able to survive?’

The name’s Shanklin, Danny Shanklin. Move over Reacher, there’s a new action man in town! If you’re looking for a high octane, adrenalin filled adventure complete with a non stop narrative then Hunted by new kid on the block Emlyn Rees – not to be confused with the musical band from the 90’s of course – is that book. I  couldn’t put it down and certainly didn’t want it to end, that’s for sure – a remarkable debut offering – and with an already overflowing action genre market it’s hard to stand out from the crowd but in Danny Shanklin, Rees has created an entertaining and believable character that is set to run and run – literally!

I’ve been fortunate enough this year to have experienced a few cracking debut titles – Urban Waite’s The Terror of Living and Will Carver’s Girl 4 to name but two – and I can say unequivocally that Emlyn Rees is right up with the best of them. I found myself comparing Danny Shanklin to Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer – of 24 fame – on more than one occasion, both men finding themselves all alone with just one person to call on for technical support – Jack had Chloe and Danny has the kid – both trying to outrun the ubiquitous government agencies and police, both determined to find a way to kill the baddies and save the day (the only thing missing was an off the shoulder satchel bag!). Whether or not his happens in Hunted, you’ll just have to read for yourself but what I will say is that things don’t always run smoothly and together with a few imaginative twists and turns Rees will have you guessing until the end.

Whenever a book is set in a city you know – either as a resident or frequent visitor – be it London, Paris, New York or Rome – as a reader, you’ll always have an affinity with said book that somehow excites and entertains on a level not possible otherwise. You’ll recognise street names, fountains, parks, hotels and even famous shopping landmarks such as Harrods as you explore the hidden depths of the book. Set in its entirety on the streets of London Hunted is one such book – for me at least – and my frequent sojourns to London have certainly added a little extra to my enjoyment.

The narrative is incredibly fluid and once the initial foundation is set and leading characters introduced, the action begins in earnest and there’s really no let up in pace until the final throws of the adventure. Hunted is a frenetic book and one I found incredibly easy to get lost in. An imaginative and intelligent plot, the main protagonist is likeable and carries a certain amount of baggage – adequately explored with seven year old flashbacks – that has undoubtedly shaped him into the man he is. A former CIA operative, Danny Shanklin is now in the private sector and as we discover is tormented by the loss of his wife and son, trust we learn is in short supply and hard earned.

Given that the book centres on two main protagonists – three if you include the streets of London – the scope for character development is limited to Danny Shanklin and the doughnut loving the kid. Having said that, Emlyn as you would expect, does introduce the reader to numerous “bit” characters that have significant roles to play in one way or another, some bigger than others. London certainly comes alive as Shanklin runs from the police either on foot, scooter or the obligatory car chase!

Be aware however, this isn’t your toasted marshmallow story, there are some pretty graphic scenes of torture in Hunted and I squirmed once or twice at its sheer brutality but it left me in no doubt that the world of espionage is both dangerous and unforgiving; it’s not always about James Bond and glamorous women you know! The use of technology and gadgets added a modern and up to date twist to the entire story and I thoroughly enjoyed the use of the thousands upon thousands of surveillance cameras in the gripping chase.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline pumping adventure, believable characters and a few jaw dropping moments then look no further than Hunted by Emlyn Rees. Danny Shanklin is about to set the world on fire, the only question remains – can anyone stop him?

One of my choice books of 2011, Hunted is published by Constable & Robinson and is available in Hardcover , Paperback & Kindle – Highly recommended.

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